Agenda and minutes
Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Performance and Corporate Services)
Tuesday 3rd January, 2012 5.30 pm
Venue: Town Hall, Bootle
Contact: Ruth Harrison
Advisor from the Centre for Public Scrutiny to attend.
The Chair, Councillor Steve McGinnity, welcomed Ms Linn Phipps, facilitator, Centre for Public Scrutiny to the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Performance and Corporate Services).
It was reported that the scope of the session had been agreed to by the Head of Governance and Civic Services and the Scrutiny Team.
Ms Phipps introduced the scope of the session as:-
The following headlines were discussed:-
Policy Context (National)
We know that (Statistics):-
· 10.3 million people aged 65 or over in the UK
We know that (Life expectancy - from the Office for National Statistics):-
What is it like, being older?
Apologies for Absence
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Preece.
Declarations of Interest
Members and Officers are requested to give notice of any personal or prejudicial interest and the nature of that interest, relating to any item on the agenda in accordance with the relevant Code of Conduct.
No declarations of interest were received.
Minutes of the meeting held on 1 November 2011.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 1 November 2011 be confirmed as a correct record.
Report of the Head of Transformation.
The Committee considered the report of the Head of Transformation which detailed progress in relation to the implementation of the approved savings within the 2011/12 budget. It was reported that good progress in achieving the approved savings continued to be made.
Councillor Mainey referred to Annex A, (A2 – Progress is Satisfactory), to the report, Review of Specialist Transport and raised concerns regarding the tendering process and referred to a letter he had received from a business questioning the validity of the tendering process.
It was reported that the issue would be investigated and a response be provided to Members of the Committee.
(1) the progress outlined in Annex A, Approved Savings Proposals Tracking Report be accepted;
(2) the progress to date in relation to the work programme, Annex B, be accepted; and
(3) the Head of Transformation provides an overview of the tendering process and reports back to the next meeting of this Committee.
Report of the Director of Corporate Commissioning
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Corporate Commissioning which provided Members with an update in relation to the Governance elements of the recently enacted Localism Bill.
The Director of Corporate Commissioning, Mr Graham Bayliss, informed Members that the Act introduced a further form of local authority governance in addition to the current options of leader and cabinet mayor and cabinet models. It was reported that Councils now have the option of adopting a committee system. It was further reported that alternative models maybe proposed to, and accepted by the Secretary of State provided they met certain criteria.
Members requested clarification regarding the Mayoral arrangements and the power discharged to the Secretary of State, under the Localism Act, to trigger a mayoral referendum. It was reported that Liverpool, along with the ten other largest English cities could potentially be requested to hold a referendum on whether to adopt a particular form of governance. Members requested further guidance on the matter.
(1) the report be accepted; and
(2) the Director of Corporate Commissioning be requested to provide a briefing paper to the next meeting of this Committee, in relation to the impact of a mayoral referendum in Liverpool and the potential effect that could have on Sefton’s future governance arrangements.
Report of the Director of Corporate Commissioning.
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Corporate Commissioning submitting the most recent report by the Cabinet Member – Corporate Services for the period November to December 2011.
In accordance with the recently agreed procedure, the Cabinet Member update report attached to the report had been e-mailed to the Chair and Spokespersons of the Committee on its availability and the Chair, Councillor Mcginnity, indicated that he would wish to receive further information on the following issues:-
· The Thornton/Switch Island Link Road – update on land swapping and CPO situation.
· Kew/Residential/Commercial/Social Care Development – update on the negotiating aspect, what the proposals are for the site and costs involved.
· Further information regarding Apprenticeship Schemes on Merseyside and in particular Sefton.
· Empty Homes Strategy – The cost per house/unit of bringing the15 Empty Homes back into use.
A briefing paper in relation to Apprenticeship Schemes was circulated.
Mr Peter Cowley, Principal Solicitor updated Members on the current position with regards the compulsory purchase order of land on the Thornton/Switch Island Link Road. He informed Members that negotiations were ongoing between the Council and the Forrestry Commission.
Members raised concerns that negotiations had been ongoing for sometime and requested that a report be submitted to the next Meeting of this Committee detailing the current position and proposals of how the issue maybe resolved.
In relation to the Kew/Residential/Commercial/Social Care Development Mr Peter Cowley, Principal Solicitor reported that Cabinet on 8 December 2011 had noted that Barratt David Wilson, desired to enter into a conditional contract to purchase the site at Town Lane, Kew and submit a planning application.
Councillor Weavers referred to a request to set up a Steering Group, consisting of himself, Councillors Porter and Hardy in order to ensure that Barratt David Wilson deliver on the promises made during the public consultation.
Mr Peter Cowley reported on the Empty Homes Strategy and advised Members that if the process of the Enforced Sale Procedure was administered successfully there shouldn’t be a cost to the Council and any debt owed to the Council should be recovered.
It was further reported that Arvato were currently investigating those empty properties where there was outstanding Council Tax and that a priority list had been drawn up.
Members requested that a report be produced and submitted to the next meeting of this Committee in relation to the type of action being taken by Arvato on empty properties throughout the Borough to include information regarding outstanding Council Tax owed on those empty properties.
(1) the Cabinet Member Report, Corporate Services be accepted;
(2) the Head of Legal be requested to submit a report to the next meeting of this Committee in relation to current progress of negotiations for the acquisition of land required for the Thornton/Switch Island Link Road; and
(3) a representative from Arvato be requested to produce a report in relation to the type of action being taken by them on empty properties throughout the Borough to include information regarding outstanding Council ... view the full minutes text for item 49.
Report of the Director of Corporate Commissioning.
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Corporate Commissioning in relation to the Committee’s programme of work. There were a number of decisions within the latest Key Decision Forward Plan that fell under this Committee’s remit and Members were reminded of their right to pre-scrutinise such items.
The Lead Member, Councillor McGinnity updated Members on the Port Master Plan Working Group. He referred to the scope of the review and stated that concerns had been raised regarding the transportation of containers through the city, via Dunnings Bridge Road, on large vehicles and the consequences this could have in relation to pollution and health. It was reported that Members were keen to understand reasons why the rail network at Mount Olive was not being used for such transportation to Garston, as was promised some years ago.
Councillor McGinnity reported that Members of the Working Group had requested a substantial amount of information from Officers on various issues and in particular information regarding a Charter Peel Holdings had been awarded some years ago.
(1) items for pre-scrutiny from the Key Decision Forward Plan be received; and
(2) progress, to date, of the Port Master Plan Working Group be accepted.